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Issues & Controversies in History
Facts On File/Infobase Learning is hiring historians and writers on a freelance basis to contribute articles to Issues & Controversies in History, a database in world history targeted to high school and college students. Each article will focus on a specific question encapsulating a debate or conflict in global history. MANY TOPICS ARE STILL AVAILABLE, including Revolution, Slavery, Gender, Imperialism, War, Technology, Race, Human Rights, Diplomacy, Empire, Disease, Economy, Environment, Migration, and Religion. Both traditional and nontraditional subjects are being sought. ESPECIALLY SEEKING TOPICS ON Colonialism, British Commonwealth Nations (Australia, Canada, India, etc.), Latin America, and Antiquity.
Issues & Controversies in History places students at the center of the great debates and conflicts in global history. It brings history to life not as a mere recitation of names and dates but as a set of turning points where the future hung in the balance and opinions raged on all sides. By exploring the issues as the key players saw them, or, in some cases, as historians have interpreted them, the database will build a deeper understanding of how historical events and conflicts have shaped world history.
The goal of Issues & Controversies in History is to present history as a dynamic process of controversies, conflicts, and issues that people debated and experienced and ultimately made choices about. The “issues and controversies” approach will help personalize the engagement with global perspectives, reminding students and educators that world history doesn’t have to take a distanced point of view, but rather can also be about linking local individual actions and events to the larger global experience. Students will learn that in spite of the vastness of the past, the daily lives of individuals also comprise the building blocks of world history and that the choices made by individuals—be they rulers, merchants, farmers, or slaves—have shaped world history for thousands of years.
Each article poses a single historical question and is presented in pro/con format. Some of these focus on specific controversies and events (e.g., Did Constantine's conversion to Christianity transform the Roman Empire? Should Tsar Alexander emancipate the serfs? Should La Malinche have helped Cortés in the Spanish conquest of Mexico? Should West African states have rejected the importation of European guns? Should Britain and France intervene during the U.S. Civil War? Should President Truman drop the atomic bomb on Japan?). Other articles focus on broader historical issues and comparative questions (e.g., Were ancient origin myths derived from observations of nature or the need to sanction political authority? Was the Seven Years' War the world's first world war? Did resistance to slavery shape ideas of freedom? Were merchants or missionaries more important in the spread of early religions? Did the Mayan Empire decline because of internal dissent or environmental change?).
The pro/con sections of each article are document-based. The author needs to gather these primary sources (or excerpts) and quote them as evidence to argue and "prove" specific points. These sources can include traditional documents, such as speeches, letters, manifestoes, newspaper articles, etc., as well as innovative ones, such as editorial cartoons, statues, posters, paintings, coin inscriptions, tomb engravings, etc.
Each article provides all the essential information to enable a student to both understand the issue and its significance and answer the question in specific world history contexts. Every article contains an introductory highlight box summarizing the issue and the two competing positions; a narrative essay providing historical background of the issue/event; an argument section presenting both sides of the controversy, with quotations from primary sources used as evidence to support each position; a selection of primary sources (on which the arguments are based and which are referenced and quoted in the article); a chronology; a sidebar; discussion questions; bibliography; and a “what if” section contemplating what could or might have happened had the alternative side prevailed.
As a whole, articles are designed with an aim toward achieving a balance among historical eras and the broadest possible coverage of geographical regions and peoples worldwide. All eras and global regions are open and available, but non-Western regions are particularly being sought.
Facts On File/Infobase Learning is currently seeking authors for this exciting new database, and many articles are still available. If you are interested in being an author or would like more information, please contact Andrew Gyory, Ph.D., at firstname.lastname@example.org or Facts On File, 132 West 31st Street, New York, N.Y. 10001.